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Bireswar Barua

Lily's Afternoon

I can count on my finger tips
the chance scribblings
of momentary acquaintances
a tender word, or,
a cup of coffee put on my hands,
lie beyond the dial of the seismograph

Nemesis? Fate?
darkness daubs the rolls
of such reckonings.
who could after all pin dreams
to leaves and twigs
where the squirrel's tail ran wild.

They would rather not hear nursery rhymes.
So they hold you captive in a cuckoo's nest.
Oh my poor lunatic!
How could you with your two hands
push aside the clouds
from the morning sky!
They make spurious afternoons
as canopy to the tomb of your youth.

Translated by Pradip Acharya

We Do Not Know

We do not know where this journey ends
In the lush green meadow,
Or in the deserted quay of some perched river
Where skeletal remains of animals lie mixed
With the remnants of human bodies and burnt charcoal

We do not know whether floods
Will ever come to the rivers of this world
Or not.

And if such floods do come, whether they will
fertilise our fields, or carry us away
Our sins
And our helplessness.

We do not for what
Or for whom we are waiting
(Only perpetually feel
the physical and mental exhaustion.)
We do not know when angels will come...

Translated by Gautam Barua


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